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Fell-off list: Biggest absences from's Top 100 NBA players of 2017

Recent retirees and future Hall of Famers Kobe Bryant and Tim Duncan lead the list of players who fell off's Top 100 NBA players of 2017.

Sports Illustrated’s Ben Golliver and Rob Mahoney released their annual Top 100 Players in the NBA  list this week, and you may have noticed a few names missing from the fun. Players who made the list last season certainly don’t have a guaranteed spot for this year’s iteration, and the talent leaving the Top 100 in 2016 includes future Hall of Famers and former MVPs.

Tim Duncan and Kobe Bryant headline the players leaving the Top 100, though retirement is far from the biggest factor in players sliding off. Aging, injuries and declining performance all play big roles. Here are the players who fell out of the Top 100:

Tim Duncan 

Duncan rides off into retirement after an up-and-down final season in San Antonio. The Big Fundamental didn’t live up to his No. 11 ranking in 2015–16, but he was still a very effective player for the Spurs, particularly on the defensive end. Arguably the greatest player of his generation, Duncan was the linchpin of a nearly two-decade long era of Spurs success. — (Last year’s ranking: 11)'s Top 100 NBA players of 2017

Tyson Chandler, Suns 

Chandler had a nightmare season in Phoenix. He missed 16 games, and when he did play, he did little to elevate a mediocre Suns team. Chandler will be 34 by the start of the season, and appears to be a victim of age-related decline. With the years and injuries both piling up for Chandler, it seems unlikely the center can bounce back to the rim-running, shot-blocking menace that earned him such a high spot on last year’s list. — (Last year's ranking: 36)

Joakim Noah, Knicks 

Like Chandler, Noah is an aging center dealing with a history of injuries. Noah played in only 29 games last season, and 96 combined over the last two years. As he gets deeper into his 30s, Noah’s offense is becoming harder to hide. He can’t shoot well, and he doesn’t finish at a high percentage around the rim. Compounding those issues is his fit in New York, where there’s hardly any depth behind him and two ball-dominant players on the court. — (Last year's ranking: 43)

Al Jefferson, Pacers

Big Al may make you yearn for the halcyon days of post-playing centers, but his game is becoming obsolete. Jefferson went from averaging 20 points and 10 rebounds as starter to a bench player for the Hornets, and last season Charlotte performed better when he wasn’t on the court. Jefferson’s defense has never been great and is only getting worse, and his grind-it-out post game is not nearly efficient enough to justify a big role in Indiana’s rotation. — (Last year's ranking: 47)

Ty Lawson, Kings 

Lawson’s career has cratered amid numerous off-court issues. On the court, his production has declined significantly. Advanced stats paint a bleak picture for Lawson, who really can’t seem to do anything right at this stage of his career. Lawson’s decision to sign with the Kings doesn’t exactly help either, as it’s hard to imagine him reviving his career under the auspices of one the most dysfunctional organizations in the league. — (Last year's ranking: 51)

Tony Parker, Spurs 

Parker was one of the last players cut from the Top 100 this season, and his exclusion from the list was highly debated before it became final. Parker is now 34, and he’s lost a little bit of the dynamic playmaking ability that made him a shoo-in on previous Top 100s. Parker’s defense has also slipped a little bit, which is a concern at one of the deepest positions league wide. Ultimately, while Parker is still an effective player, the Spurs’ system is also a large factor in his current success. — (Last year's ranking: 53)

The biggest snubs from's Top 100 NBA players of 2017

Kobe Bryant

Outside of his peak-Kobe finale, Bryant was the most overrated player in the NBA last season. Age caught up to Bryant, and his inefficiency grew as his jump shot continued to fail. On the defensive side, Bryant wasn’t much better, and his presence on the court did little to lift an awful Lakers team. Bryant was ranked too high at 54 last season, and if he had come back this year, he still wouldn’t have been included in the Top 100. — (Last year's ranking: 54)

Monta Ellis, Pacers

Ellis had always been an effective volume scorer until last season, when his game started to slip as Paul George’s sidekick. With Ellis never offered much outside of his scoring, his ranking experienced a big hit after that aspect of his game took a dive. Ellis has a ton of miles on his legs, and it’s starting to catch up to him. Ellis has never been a knockdown shooter and always been poor on defense, and he shot inefficiently last season while failing to create much on offense. — (Last year's ranking: 57)

Tyreke Evans, Pelicans 

Another one of the last players cut from the Top 100, the biggest concern with Evans is injuries. He played in only 25 games last season, and the Pelicans are still unsure when Evans will return from the knee surgery he underwent in February. Evans has a chance to return to the list, but he’ll have to prove it on the court this season. — (Last year's ranking: 58)

Jrue Holiday, Pelicans 

Holiday is taking a leave of absence from the Pelicans as he plans to help his wife recover from surgery to remove a brain tumor. Holiday was kept off the list due to extraordinary family circumstance, uncertainty surrounding his return, as well as three straight injury-laden seasons. He’s arguably a top-50 player when healthy, so he certainly has a chance to return to the list. — (Last year's ranking: 59)


Derrick Rose, Knicks 

Rose is on the opposite end of the spectrum of his MVP season in 2011. Advanced stats painted Rose as one of the worst players in the league last year. The point guard’s offense featured a lethal combination of high-volume shooting at an inefficient percentage, while his defense continued to suffer. A change of scenery could help Rose, but the Chicago native is not at all the same kind of player he used to be. — (Last year's ranking: 60)

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Markieff Morris, Wizards 

Morris had a terrible season in Phoenix, complaining about the trade of his brother and clashing with Jeff Hornacek. All of Morris’s best qualities disappeared, namely his midrange shooting, performance in the clutch, and effort-level stats. A trade to Washington didn’t revitalize Morris’s season, and he’s since grumbled about Scott Brooks. Morris plays at a loaded position, but he can re-enter the list if he recommits to what earned him a spot last year. — (Last year's ranking: 64)

Timofey Mozgov, Lakers 

Mozgov probably should not have been on the list last season. His dream first year in Cleveland gave way to a season in which he lost his starting job, fell out of the rotation and was slowed by injuries. Mozgov’s offensive RPM was second-worst among centers last year, and now he’ll be expected to play a bigger role for the Lakers. With a major downgrade in teammates, Mozgov’s game will only suffer more. — (Last year's ranking: 68)

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Paul Pierce, Clippers 

Pierce is off the Top 100 for pure age-related decline. He had a couple moments last season, but his game fell off a cliff. He couldn’t really function as a spot starter, and only worked in extremely small doses off the bench. Pierce is too old to size anyone up on offense or defense, and if his shooting percentage drops any more, he could become unplayable. — (Last year's ranking: 71)

Tiago Splitter, Hawks 

Splitter is off the list mostly for injury reasons. The Hawks kind of acquired damaged goods when they traded for Splitter, and he played in only 36 games last season. Splitter has played in more than 60 games only once in his career, and because he entered the league late, he’s already 31. With Dwight Howard in Atlanta, Splitter’s role will be reduced significantly, and he won’t have the impact to be a Top 100 player. — (Last year's ranking: 74)

Joe Johnson, Jazz 

Johnson was not far off from the Top 100, and he seems to be a perfect fit in Utah. But his ability has declined significantly from the days of being a top three scoring option for a capable offense. He’s become almost purely a spot-up shooter, and at age 35, Johnson’s game is expected to become even more stationary next season. — (Last year's ranking: 82)

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Deron Williams, Mavericks 

Williams had a solid if anonymous season for the Mavs last year, but he’s had three straight seasons of similar production and injury issues. Williams has simply been surpassed as he ages, and he’s no longer one of the top 20 point guards in the NBA. There are no signs Williams’s production will magically turnaround, and his history of ankle issues don’t bode well for the rest of his career. — (Last year's ranking: 83)

Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Hornets 

A house favorite of the SI staff, Gilchrist was close to getting a spot on this year’s Top 100, but his injury issues couldn’t justify his inclusion on the list. MKG played only seven games last year, and has missed significant time in three of his four seasons. When he does play, he plays with the impact of a Defensive Player of the Year. Kidd-Gilchrist could be a good fit for Charlotte, but he’ll have to have a healthy season to return to the Top 100. — (Last year's ranking: 85)

Taj Gibson, Bulls 

Gibson falls off the Top 100 as his role is muddied on the new-look Bulls. Gibson is a solid player who was one of the last taken off the list, but his numbers fell last season, and his lack of shooting is becoming increasingly problematic at power forward. Gibson also has a lot of competition within his team for playing time, and it wouldn’t be surprising if he becomes a trade candidate for much of the upcoming season. — (Last year's ranking: 90)

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Lou Williams, Lakers

A pure chucker who is atrocious defensively, Williams was a pointless exercise in L.A. who did pretty much the same thing he did for bad 76ers teams. Williams makes almost no impact on the court, filling up the stat sheet with empty points while never involving his teammates. — (Last year's ranking: 92)

Roy Hibbert, Lakers

Once billed as the LeBron stopper, Hibbert’s career has fallen off the map. He had the worst offensive RPM among centers last season, and any team would find it difficult to play a big man this slow-footed. On a Lakers team desperate for offense, Hibbert was never considered an option down low. Perhaps Patrick Ewing can revive his game in Charlotte, but Hibbert isn’t expected back on the Top 100 anytime soon. — (Last year's ranking: 95)'s Top 100 NBA players of 2017: Limitations of the exercise

Josh Smith 

A stunning fall from grace, Smith went from max player in Detroit to waived outright, and then he washed out of L.A. and Houston twice. Smith’s release from the Clippers—who are perpetually in need of warm bodies on their bench—was particularly jarring. Smith’s shooting has always been a glaring issue, but his athleticism and defense are now failing him as well. Ultimately, it’s Smith’s negative offensive impact keeping him off the list and an NBA roster. — (Last year's ranking: 96)

Donatas Motiejunas 

Motiejunas is off the list after some big-time health issues. The former Rockets forward failed a physical that caused a trade to be called off last season, which is an awful sign. Motiejunas could have been in line for a big contract this summer, but he remains unsigned amid the health uncertainties. Motiejunas was a very fun player, but his Top 100 days could be gone forever unless he returns at full strength. — (Last year's ranking: 98)